Botswana turns into a child abuse paradise – US Report
By Laone Rasaka
Children in Botswana are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, and forced labour in cattle herding and domestic service, according to the latest Botswana Child Labour and Forced Labour Reports.
The report is a US Department of State initiative. “Research indicates that some children residing in the Dukwi Refugee Camp are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation as they await decisions regarding their refugee status,” states the report.
The report seems to be corroborated by Botswana Police Service statistics of offences involving children (2020-2022). According to official figures from Botswana Police Service issued on 6th April 2023, between 2020 and 2022, the Botswana Police Service (BPS) said it dealt with more than 2 300 abuse cases of children below the age of 15.
‘The police have, in recent times, been inundated with cases of child negligence and ill-treatment by their parents. In worst scenarios, children were left without proper arrangement, in the custody of relatives, guardians or institutions for a considerable period of time,” the BPS said. The Police warned that “As a result of the increase in such cases, we would like to caution members of the public that we intend to intensify operations on defaulters of this crime” adding that it commits to fully upholding children’s rights and ensuring their protection.”
The US Department of State report says key gaps remain in the country’s legal framework, including the lack of a minimum age for compulsory education and a list of hazardous work activities for children.
The report says legal protections for children from commercial sexual exploitation do not meet international standards because the use of children for prostitution is not criminally prohibited.
It says some parents in poor rural communities send their children to work as domestic servants in cities, or at farms or cattle posts, increasing their vulnerability to forced labour. According to the report, children, particularly children from the San minority ethnic group, work on commercial farms in the Ghanzi Region, tending to and herding cattle.
The report says on some farms, employers may withhold food rations unless children perform work.
“Children working in domestic service settings are exposed to various conditions that are indicative of forced labor including confinement, denial of promised educational opportunities and basic necessities, and physical, verbal, and sexual abuse,” the report says.
It says labor inspectors are not authorized to inspect domestic households, and some labor inspectors have faced obstacles in accessing large farms, such as locked gates or denial of entry, inhibiting their ability to identify underage workers.
The report says during the reporting period (2020-2021), Botswana courts convicted a Zimbabwean woman for bringing a 16 year-old child into Botswana for forced domestic servitude. The court imposed a 10-year sentence, marking the first conviction and imposed penalty for human trafficking in 2 years.
The report says although the government convicted four other individuals and initiated two new prosecutions under the trafficking in persons law during the reporting period, the ages of the victims and whether the cases pertained to the worst forms of child labor are unknown.
The report says research indicates that the government is not actively supporting implementation of key national policies for the prevention and elimination of child labor. (
“Child labor elimination and prevention strategies are not included in relevant national policies, including the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan and the Botswana National Youth Policy,” the report says.
It says there are no government-run shelters that cater to child survivors of human trafficking. “While the government funds and contracts with NGO-run shelters that serve this population, it does not directly provide such services,” the report says.
It says An NGO reported that established shelters lack resources to attend to the needs of older children.
“Although Botswana has programs that target child labor, the design and implementation of these programs are insufficient to fully address the scope of the problem, especially in commercial sexual exploitation, cattle herding, and domestic work,” states the report.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.
Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.
The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.
Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.
“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.
Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.
Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.
For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.
Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.
When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.
Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.
She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.
During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.
Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.
According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd, the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.
However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.
“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.
While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.
“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.
The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.